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Jonah Hill Steps Away from “Superbad”

Jonah Hill Steps Away from “Superbad” (photo)

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Comedic actor and up-and-coming screenwriter Jonah Hill has brightened every feature Judd Apatow has yet directed (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Funny People”), and would like you to stop thinking he’s the vulgar loudmouth he played in “Superbad.” If anything, he thinks his recent gig as the hapless liaison to Russell Brand’s rock star in “Get Him to the Greek” is probably the closest to himself he’s ever played since, as Hill told me, “he’s ambitious, good-intentioned and works hard.” Let’s give him that one, if only because he’s starring in his second feature to be released this month.

Filmmaking brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (“The Puffy Chair,” “Baghead”) have given Hill his most dramatic role yet as the eponymous weirdo in “Cyrus,” a smart indie blend of humor and heartbreak. John C. Reilly stars as a miserably divorced man who finally meets a very special lady (Marisa Tomei), only to discover her grown son (Hill) is a creepy, over-possessive product of too much parental coddling. At the press junket, where I was gifted a funny promotional T-shirt that I’ll unfortunately never wear in public because it says “Seriously, Don’t F**k My Mom,” I sat down with Hill to discuss the music that influenced him on the “Cyrus” set, making his mother cry, and the fact that you already think his “21 Jump Street” remake will suck.

Not to draw such direct comparisons to Cyrus, but are you socially awkward in any way?

If you caught me on certain days, I would be totally different in that regard. My girlfriend always makes fun of me because I’ll say, “I don’t want to go to this party, it’s going to be awkward,” or I just want to hang out at home. Then she’s like, “You end up closing down the party, the last person to leave, always talking to everybody.” Then on different days, I really am uncomfortable in big social settings. I love watching movies and hanging out with loved ones. That’s where my heart’s at and where I usually have the most fun.

06152010_JonahHillCyrus2.jpgHave you ever felt spoiled by your parents, like Cyrus’ mother does to him?

I don’t think so. They were really supportive, hard on me when they had to be, and continue to be loving. My parents saw the movie at Sundance with my girlfriend and other family members, and I think it’s their favorite movie I’ve ever been in. For me, the hardest scene to watch and my favorite I’ve ever done in any movie is in “Cyrus,” when Marisa Tomei and I are on the bed, she’s admitting she made mistakes in raising me, and I’m admitting for the first time — being honest and not manipulative — that my fear is she’s replacing me with this other person. My heart breaks for both of those characters.

My mom was crying after the movie. It broke my heart because I always looked at it from Cyrus’s point of view — obviously, because I was playing that character — thinking, “It’s so sad, this guy’s losing the one person who cares about him and who he cares about.” My mom was touched by it, because she was like, “It made me think about raising three kids, and times I felt I was making mistakes.” You do your best and there’s no guidebook to it. It must be hard to think, “Maybe I messed up in certain ways.”

Do you want to raise children?

Definitely. That’s one of the great joys of life, especially watching Mark and Jay become fathers. Watching them deal with their kids is really inspiring. John Reilly has a great family, as do a lot of people I’ve worked with — Judd [Apatow], Nick Stoller.

06152010_JonahHillCyrus8.jpgThe reason you work so hard is you love making movies, but the reason you work harder is because you want to have a family and want to be able to buy your kids clothes or food and make sure they’re able to live, you know?

If you’re not anything like your “Superbad” role, as you mentioned, has the real Jonah Hill ever come out in any of your characters?

I don’t think anyone knows me that well if they’re just going on my movies. In my job, unfortunately, I don’t think you can control what people think about you. I’m really proud of my family, friends and girlfriend, and I’m very insular in that way of hanging with them. I’m not out on the Hollywood scene or going to nightclubs and stuff like that. I’m just about making good movies, and I’m prideful of what you said because it’s great that all people know about me are the movies I put out. That’s good for an actor. You don’t want people to know too much because it’s that much harder to convince them that you’re somebody else. When people who think I’m that “Superbad” guy see this movie, it’s going to be shocking because it’s so different.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.